Watch Twitch using VLC in macOS

December 7, 2013

If you own a Retina-Macbook you problably struggle with fairly high CPU load and bad performance when watching Twitch-channels using the standard flash-based player in the browser.

A tool called livestreamer can be used to bring Twitch streams to the beloved VLC player (which also uses the GPU to process videos). This way you are not just able to reduce the used resources, the streams also feel much smoother, especially for high resolutions.

Twitch will not be able to stream ads if you use this solution. Please be fair and subscribe to channels you like and you support.

[Update 2017-05-09] Streamlink as replacement for abandoned Livestreamer

The authors of Livestreamer abandoned the project. I recommend you use a fork of Livestreamer called Streamlink.

You install it via pip:

pip install streamlink

[Update 2014-02-20]

If you are using the glorious Alfred App you might be interested in this workflow, which allows for the same thing:

[Update 2014-03-06]

Added updating instructions.

Install Livestreamer

  • Download and install rtmpdump from here
  • Download python-setuptools from here
  • Open
  • Navigate to the folder where you downloaded the Egg-File and install it
    cd ~/Downloads
    sh setuptools-0.6c11-py2.7.egg
    # Maybe you need to run it as sudo - `sudo sh setuptools-0.6c11-py2.7.egg`
    {% endcodeblock %}
    - Clone `Livestreamer` GIT Repository and install `Livestreamer`
    {% codeblock lang:bash %}
    git clone git://
    cd livestreamer
    python install
    # Again, maybe you need to run it as sudo - `sudo python install`

Now you should be able to view Twitch channels in VLC

Using Livestreamer

Say you want to view this Twitch channel in VLC: All you have to to is go into the and type

livestreamer [quality]
# You might as well skip the `http://www.` part
Here, [quality] has to be a quality setting from the stream, usually ranging between low, medium, high and source. If you leave it empty, livestreamer will tell you, which options you can choose from. Setting the parameter to best tells livestreamer to use the highest quality available.

Et voilá. Enjoy your stream.

Update Livestreamer

If you see a message like this when launching livestreamer you might update to the latest version:

[cli][info] A new version of Livestreamer (1.7.4) is available!

To do so, navigate to any folder, for example ~/Downloads, and run the following commands:

cd ~/Downloads
git clone git://
cd livestreamer
python install

After that you can remove the livestreamer folder from the folder you cloned the GIT repository to (~/Downloads/livestreamer in our example).


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